Reading List :: November & December

November and December were really good reading months, some of which were even my favourite books for the year. I ended up finishing 2018 having read 91 books which I’m so chuffed about. Reading so much made such a difference to my year and I hope to continue to have a varied reading list for the year to come. I returned home from my parent’s place after Christmas with at least 20 books that I’ve borrowed from them, so I’m looking forward to cracking on with those!

The Secret History, Donna Tartt

I LOVED IT. I need people around me to have read it so I can discuss it in depth as much as possible! It follows fairly privileged characters and has an air of Dead Poet’s Society, but with murder.

Dissolution, C.J. Sansom

This was a readable story, but I found the main character a little irritating at times. It’s the first in a series so I might try again with one of the others to see if I find it any better.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This had been on my to-read list for so long and I finally got around to reading it. I enjoyed it, although found it a little difficult to keep track of some of the characters at the start.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was a re-read and I found it even better on a second read through.

The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

My mum lent me this book and I LOVED IT. The plot and characters were really compelling and I found it hard to put down.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories, Ernest Hemingway

I go back and forth on Hemingway, some of his stories are great and I found that with these short stories. I often find his male characters incredibly frustrating, especially in regards to their interactions with women, but that’s often the problem with reading classics. My favourite story was probably the one about the cat in the rain, for obvious reasons.

My Purple Scented Novel, Ian McEwan

This was a nice short story about a writer who steals his friend’s work without remorse. I enjoyed it, and the story is one that would be interesting to see as a novel.

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen

I love Springsteen, so it was interesting to read about his life from his perspective. It was very readable and fun to find out more about the backstory behind many of his songs and albums.

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories, P.D. James

These were fun festive short stories, except for a one story which had a really dark twist and left me feeling a wee bit uncomfortable.

A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories, Georges Simenon

One of the many books I picked up especially for December. They were enjoyable short stories for the Christmas period.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carre

This was a good read if pretty depressing. Despite it being based in the Cold War period, a lot of passages about power and government was sadly relevant to today.

Mystery in White, J. Jefferson Farjeon

I got this as a festive read and it fulfilled the purpose. The plot was a bit tenuous, and the characters were quite twee, but without the intelligence of a Christie book.

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

THIS WAS SO GOOD. I’d heard so many good things about Elizabeth Strout books for so long, and finally I managed to pick one up second hand. I’m so happy I did as it was just beautiful to read, although it’s also completely heartbreaking at many points throughout. If you get a chance, definitely pick it up!

The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

Throughout reading this book I kept thinking I had already read it, and realised I had by the time I got to the end. As a re-read it was so good and so sad and I’m so glad I found it in the Oxfam bookshop to add to my shelves!

Surfacing, Margaret Atwood

I found the writing style of this book a little confusing at times, especially towards the end, and I’m not really sure what it was trying to say. But I did enjoy it, although it’s not something I would pick up again.

Skipping Christmas, John Grisham

The characters in this sort story were completely infuriating. There were fun bits to it, about a family who decides to skip Christmas and the reaction they receive from friends and neighbours, but overall I found the reactions ridiculous and irritating more.

Death of a Witch, M.C. Beaton

This was readable, but nothing special. There wasn’t much to the murder mystery plot and I find Beaton’s characters don’t have much development and the dialogue is a little clunky at times. Regardless it was an enjoyable enough, quick read.

Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney

I read this in an afternoon and couldn’t put it down. Rooney’s writing is enjoyable and immersive and fun to read. The characters and plot were interesting, if a little obnoxious at times. I’m looking forward to picking up Rooney’s next book at some point this year!

What have you been reading recently?